Are We Really Prepared as a Country?
I have walked within Nairobi over the last weeks when it has been raining consistently and it has been all chaos. What someone goes home with at first glance is an unprepared city especially in dealing with the eventualities such as rain and other calamities.
And when Nairobi is this unprepared, it points to an unprepared country at large. In fact if the city is ailing then the whole country is ailing. Someone could be wondering if their place is really ailing. I must say categorically that yes we are ailing seriously.
In Eastlands, sewage were blocked for the better part of last week. On Mondays as I passed by there, I saw a disaster that could give birth to another disease that may wipe a better of this population before it can be contained.
On the same day I travelled from Kiambu. I was at the Fourways Junction at 4:00 p.m. rushing to a meeting on Ngong’ road. I was expected to be at the meeting at 5:00p.m. but as you could have guessed I almost took two hours to reach my destination at Prestige Plaza.
The lane from Kiambu had to be stopped temporarily to allow the vehicles headed to Kiambu to pass first and reduce a traffic Jam they had caused. Then I was caught on another one while maneuvering from town headed Ngong’ road.
A lot of time was lost in getting to the roundabout at Daystar University and also as you enter the junction right before Prestige.
Yes, one part of this city, the residents are battling with non-working sewer systems while the other parts has working sewers but with all the traffic issues you could ever dream about. Others are grumbling with an ever increasing rate of crime.
It is within that weekend my friend had been kidnapped along Waiyaki Way almost in Uthiru and his car was very badly vandalized after the carjackers holding him hostage for hours. These were events I encountered within a period of three days. And the rains continued raining.
As the rains relished our tarmacs and soils in this city, vehicles also kept increasing and the people migrating to it added. What about the infrastructure, it simply remained the same. Was is the problem of the people? No. Do we blame the government? Partly yes.
In as much as we agree that the government is us, there is a point at which we have to differentiate the roles each of of play to make the whole ecosystem sustainable. For example while evaluating a certain idea some time back, the panel I sat in agreed that the issue of de-congesting the city went beyond an individual or a group of young men who simply wanted to de-congest the city.
This is because in a different forum I participated in late last year opened up the dynamics needed to de-congest this city and you realize there are a lot players to be involved. Planners, engineers, environmentalists, statisticians, scientists, economists and many more other parties.
All these are needed to be brought together by the government. In other words it’s the government that provides the platform for these parties to meet and resolve on how to work them besides providing the resources to help them. It thus seems that there is some laxity to address some of this issues such as convening these parties urgently to resolve these challenges.
It doesn’t make sense to build a house and wait for it to kill people by collapsing before people can start condemning it. We ought to stop these things from happening in the first place. When we plan, we, like Singapore need to start planning 50 to 100 years in advance.
Someone wondered loudly in the dailies in the course of last weeks as well if we are prepared for the Corona Virus. The general mood was that our pants are down. And we will be caught with them down as we get confused with what to do.
Why do I harshly say so? Because now we were unprepared for the heavy rains. We are not prepared for earthquakes and fires. We are not prepared with issues of traffic jams and mass transit systems. We are full of corruption and money meant for the government is ending in the hands of the police and other wheeler dealers. We are not prepared with technological shifts as jobs changes. We are not prepared.
What do you think as an individual? Are we really prepared? For me, I think we are prepared yes, but ill prepared for that matter.